The Missing Ingredient.

By Richard DeVries

Last week the Maple forecast was looking really good. Nighttime temperatures were dipping into the mid-twenties and the daytime highs were well over forty degrees. I predicted we would have great sap flow, but it never came. Just when I think I have it figured out mother nature puts me in my place and shows me there is more to it than I know.

It seems like we were missing one important ingredient, March mud.

March mud is not added to the syrup to give it the golden brown color but it provides the water that the trees need to make the sap. After Sunday’s snowstorm the sap-flow increased dramatically even though it was not that warm on Monday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe trees take up the water from the ground and add sugars that are being stored in the roots. Cold nights and warm days help the Maple trees build up pressure to bring the sap to the tops of the trees. The pressure in the tree makes the sap flow out of any wound, like broken branches, squirrel nibblings and also our tap hole. We only collect a small portion of the sap that flows through the tree.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bags, buckets and sap storage tanks are filling up nicely. We will keep most of the sap for cooking demonstrations during the next open house on Saturday March 28 from noon till 4. We will have two cookers going, a large evaporator for Maple syrup and a small wood stove for Walnut syrup. Visitors can participate in tapping demonstrations, taste sap from the Sugar Maples and try some pure Maple candy.

Even though the sap flow is hard to predict and can not be controlled I am pretty sure the sap will be running Saturday afternoon, but I have said that before. At least the weather forecast looks great.

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